GSOC needs to be properly resourced to be fulfil its functions – Ó Laoghaire
Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has responded to revelations that the Chairperson of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission is not satisfied that they are properly resourced to deal with protected disclosures from Gardaí.
The Cork South-Central TD said:
“It is quite extraordinary, given that the most significant issues in policing in recent times have arisen due to the courage of whistleblowers, that GSOC is being under resourced in this way.
“In general, it is our view that the under-resourcing of GSOC has hampered its ability to carry out its functions and responsibilities since its inception.
“However, there is clearly a particular need to address the responsibilities the Commission has under the 2014 Protected Disclosures Act. The increasing relevance and importance of Protected disclosures has been accompanied by a considerable increase in people coming forward.
“According to Justice Ring, the number of new protected disclosures in the first three months of 2017 exceeded the total number in 2016.
“GSOC were seeking 12 additional staff, but have only been offered five, with one of these being a clerical officer, and with no Principal Officer included. The Protected Disclosures Unit (PDU) currently has three staff, and is operating on a part-time basis only, with all staff having additional responsibilities.
“The sums involved here are small in the context, about €900,000. Given the potential costs of Commissions of Inquiry or Tribunals, this is very little.
“GSOC were very explicit in the memo released to RTÉ that, if the Government failed to provide the necessary resources, they would fail in two of their central objectives; to ensure investigations happen efficiently and effectively and to promote public confidence in the process.
“If GSOC is to be able to carry out its functions, to investigate properly serious Protected Disclosures, that may involve serious wrong doing or malpractice, then it needs the resources to investigate. It cannot do this on a part time basis.”